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Friday, April 24, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-24-2015

Syndicated columnist Hugh Fullerton in the Milwaukee Journal, April 24, 1915:

Here is Ty Cobb’s newest play—and his most daring one.

Cobb is on first when the ball was bunted. The throw is made to second, but Cobb beats it and, without stopping, starts for third. The batter meantime turns first. Cobb reaches third by a narrow squeak and the batter lands in safety on second.

Every time Cobb has tried it so far this year—it was quite a part of the training trip—he has been put out by a foot or two at third.

That’s because it’s a terrible idea, as far as I can tell. Nobody can run 90 feet more quickly than a ball can be thrown 90 feet.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 24, 2015 at 09:00 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, ty cobb

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The early leaders in MLB’s “Franchise Four” thing have been announced

You’ll recall Major League Baseball’s “Franchise Four” thing, in which fans vote for “the most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise” and some overall categories as well… here are the results thus far:

The District Attorney Posted: April 23, 2015 at 12:32 PM | 77 comment(s)
  Beats: all-star game, franchise four, history

Posnanski: The Best Pitcher In Baseball History

Poz’s selection may angry up the blood.

How good was Roger Clemens? Well, yesterday I pointed out that his career is better than Sandy Koufax and Johan Santana.

But Matthew Namee — who was once Bill James’ research assistant — does me one better. He sent Tom Tango a comparison that shows that Roger Clemens is, basically, Sandy Koufax PLUS Pedro Martinez, the two greatest short-career pitchers in the game’s history.

How does he figure that? Start with Pedro:

Clemens in Boston: 81 WAR, 56 Wins Above Average, 2776 innings.
Pedro career: 86 WAR, 61 WAA, 2,827 innings…

Now, let’s bring in Koufax.

Clemens after Boston: 58 WAR, 39 WAA, 2,141 innings.
Koufax career: 53 WAR, 31 WAA, 2,324 innings…

I guess it comes down to this: Everyone gets that, whatever role PEDs played in it, Barry Bonds played baseball at a level that would put him in the conversation with Ruth, Mays, Charleston and the rest for greatest player ever. Whether he deserves to be in that conversation  — whether his performance was, in Bob Costas’ word, “authentic” — is opinion, but nobody doubts that Bonds really was that good.

What people will miss is that Clemens — whatever role PEDs played in his success — is not only in the conversation for greatest pitcher ever. He IS the conversation.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 23, 1915:

If J. Franklin Baker goes through with his determination to play with the Upland [Pennsylvania] team of the Delaware County league it will in all probability mean that he will never be permitted to play in organized baseball again.

“Baker can’t make a fool out of me,” said [Connie] Mack, “and if he thinks that he can have a little jaunt in the Delaware County league and then at his pleasure report to me and expect to find a place on my team, he has made the mistake of his life.
...
“Baker made a solemn statement to the public in which he said he was quitting baseball because he didn’t like traveling. Yet, in the face of this, he signs a contract with Upland. He will return to Trappe [Maryland] after playing his game with Upland, I have read.

“I went from Philadelphia to Trappe once, and I want to tell you that it was the hardest, weariest trip I ever took. I would much prefer to take a ride to St. Louis than to Trappe.

I get the impression that Baker was lying when he said traveling was the problem. Seems to me he probably saw how terrible the Athletics were going to be for the next few years, didn’t want to deal with it, had enough money to walk away, and didn’t want to embarrass Mack in the process.

As for the Trappe to Upland jaunt, it’s nearly two hours by car in 2015, so I can’t imagine how long the drive would have taken in 1915. 4-5 hours maybe? Mack’s right; that would not have been a fun commute.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 23, 2015 at 09:53 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, history, home run baker

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-22-2015

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, April 22, 1915:

[Pirates] Manager Fred Clarke has released two more of his youngsters and the fact was made known at Pirate headquarters yesterday. Joe Leonard, who was in his second year with the Pirates goes to Columbus…“Dazzy” Vance, the big pitcher, goes back to St. Joe under an optional agreement.
...
“Dazzy” must go back through no fault of his own. Clarke could not make room for Vance and hold down to the seven pitchers’ limit to which he must hold or weaken other departments of the club. Vance goes back to the Western League with a stout string attached.

That string was almost immediately sold to the Yankees.

It would be another seven years before Vance emerged as a quality pitcher, but he didn’t just emerge, he exploded. Dazzy led the National League in strikeouts every year from 1922-1928, led the league in wins in 1924 and 1925, topped the ERA charts in 1924, 1928, and 1930, led the league in shutouts four times, led the league in strikeout/walk ratio every year from 1924-1931, and was the 1924 National League MVP.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 22, 2015 at 08:26 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dazzy vance, dugout, history

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

WSJ: What constitutes batting around in an inning?

By the way, the Brian Mangan in the article is me!

When the question was posed to New York Mets captain David Wright, he didn’t hesitate. “Ten,” he said. As far as Wright was concerned, nobody could disagree. To prove as much, he called over his teammate, John Mayberry Jr. Mayberry said nine, just as emphatically. Wright was stunned.

As the debate spread beyond the Mets’ players and fans, so did the divide. Colorado Rockies relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, a 42-year-old in his 21st major-league season, came out in favor of 10. So did Bobby Valentine, who has spent 16 years as the manager of the Texas Rangers, Mets and Boston Red Sox. Josh Satin, an infielder in the Cincinnati Reds organization, says the correct answer is nine.

thetailor Posted: April 21, 2015 at 05:51 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: batting around, history, vin scully

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-21-2015

Milwaukee Sentinel, April 21, 1915:

Jack Pfiester, who was formerly a pitcher on the team of the Chicago Nationals, was a witness in his own behalf in the Circuit court [in Chicago] on Tuesday in the suit brought against the Western Union Telegraph company, seeking to recover $2,500 in alleged damages in connection with a telegram sent him by the Milwaukee baseball club. Pfiester charged that on May 3, 1912, a telegram from the Milwaukee club, reading: “Will give you $300 per month,” signed “Hugh Duffy,’” was sent to him, but not delivered.

Aw, that sucks. I’m not sure how the lawsuit turned out, but Pfiester appears to have been entirely out of baseball in 1912. And now I’ve got this song stuck in my head.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 21, 2015 at 08:09 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jack pfiester

Monday, April 20, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-20-2015

Toledo News-Bee, April 20, 1915:

Groping around in the dark at his home in Chicago, Jimmy Lavender, Cub pitcher, stumbled and fell against a bathtub on Sunday night. Two ribs were broken. He may be out of the game for a month. Lavender says he was ill.

Mmm-hmm. “Ill”. A likely story.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 20, 2015 at 07:53 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jimmy lavender

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A-Rod connects twice, within 2 of Mays on HR list

Do dead centaurs bounce?

In other all-time HR list news, Trout passes Drew.

cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 18, 2015 at 11:19 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, centaurs, history, yankees

Friday, April 17, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-17-2015

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, April 17, 1915:

The Brooklyn club will celebrate tomorrow its twenty-fifth birthday, as it was on April 18, 1890, that the Dodgers played their first game in the National League, losing to Boston by a score of 15 to 9. This was a bad start, but the Brooklynites copped the pennant their first year out.

The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers: April 18th’s Birthday Team.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 17, 2015 at 08:13 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, dugout, history

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy 50th Houston Astros — formerly ‘Colt .45s,’ almost ‘Stars’

Ruh-roh, George!

How and why they became “Astros” requires some explanation.

In a nutshell, the name change was precipitated by a licensing dispute between the ballclub and the Colt Firearms Company.

An AP story from October 21, 1964 stated that:

“It was understood that the Colt Firearms Co. has no objection to the baseball club using its name, but is objecting to the baseball club sub-licensing to manufacturers the right to use the name on novelties and souvenirs sold at baseball parks.”

The team announced that it would be something other than “Colts” on October 1, 1964.

The clock was now ticking on a completely new identity — a new name, new uniforms, and a new logo.

Team owner Judge Roy Hofheinz went on record as favoring “Stars,” a reference to Houston’s expanding role in the space program. The public did not react well,  the thought being that “Stars” was a pretentious moniker for a ninth-place ballclub.

The judge and the team had something very big to sell, and they needed to start selling it. The Harris County Domed Stadium — soon to be known as the Astrodome — was built with what was described as “one-third of a mile of private clubs,” renting for $75,000 to $90,000 a pop, with a five-year minimum commitment.

On Dec. 1, 1964, Hofheinz announced that the Colt .45s would henceforth be known as the Astros and that the stadium would be called the Astrodome.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2015 at 11:47 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, colt .45's, history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-16-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 16, 1915:

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 16, 2015 at 09:42 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, pitches

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-15-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 15, 1915:

[Columbus, Ohio] City employees will be permitted to see the opening game of the season at Neil park today without the loss of salary. City council Monday night, by a vote of 14 to 2, declared a half holiday for this afternoon, which will give all of Columbus’ employees a chance to get in the Hulswitt parade.

“Hulswitt” being Rudy Hulswitt, the manager of the Columbus Senators. This was about the only fun Columbus baseball fans had that year; the 1915 Sens went 54-91 and finished dead last.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 15, 2015 at 08:03 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, opening day

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-14-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 14, 1915:

A few lines from the Pacific coast chronicle the death of one of the greatest ball players the game has known. His skin happened to be black and he never shone in the majors, however. He was [Bill] Monroe, an infielder, who went to the coast with Rube Foster’s negro team…Those who have seen him play say he was a Lajoie and a Wagner combined.

I was stunned to learn that Monroe isn’t in the Hall of Fame. That’s a traveshamockery.

Monroe was indeed one heck of a ballplayer, and he knew it. He listed his profession on the 1910 census as “champion base ball player”.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 14, 2015 at 07:58 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: bill monroe, dugout, history, negro leagues

Monday, April 13, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-13-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 13, 1915:

Joe Jackson has suffered a nervous collapse as the result of his family troubles. Within the last 10 days he has lost 15 or 20 pounds in weight as the result of not eating and brooding over his troubles.

In an effort to get in shape after his layoff of nearly two weeks he worked throughout Saturday’s game at Columbus and looked like the same old Joe. Twice he sent Mensor back to the left field fence to capture his long drives. He got a single and a triple, his other two times up, and stole third base.

As soon as the game was over, though, he went to bed, being unable to eat.

I hadn’t heard that Jackson had issues with (what certainly appears to be) depression. Makes his performance on the field even more impressive.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, the Buffalo Blues of the Federal League are protesting their opening day loss to Brooklyn because the Brookfeds pinch ran for catcher Grover Land, then put Land back in the game. I’m not sure what the outcome of the protest was, other than that it still stands as a 13-9 loss for Buffalo.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 13, 2015 at 08:44 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, joe jackson

Friday, April 10, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-10-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 10, 1915:

War, politics and spring fashions were relegated to the background today while some 72 athletes in four cities started a 154 days’ battle of their own. The umpires took the indicators away from the judges and summonses gave way to batting lists, the Federal league formally opening its 1915 baseball season.

I had no idea Federal League teams had 18-man rosters. That seems ridiculously small.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 10, 2015 at 07:51 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, federal league, history

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Thousands gather to celebrate Astrodome’s 50th birthday

The Astrodome’s 50th Birthday party was supposed to wrap up by 8 p.m. Thursday, but so many people wanted to take a peek inside the Dome the county left the gates open until 8:15.

By 10 p.m., people were still waiting as the lines were still wrapped around the Dome as people waited to get inside.

People came from far and wide to see the Eighth Wonder of the World. Organizers say approximately 23,000 people turned out.

Kiley Burton and his son, Brady, shared the driving duties, making a long-awaited pilgrimage from their hometown of Prescott to tour the most famous building in Houston’s history.

“Sounds pretty crazy,” Brady admitted. “But you got to do what you got to do to go back in the dome one more time.”

kthejoker Posted: April 09, 2015 at 11:22 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astrodome, history, houston, stadiums

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-9-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 9, 1915:

Reb [sic] Faber of the Whitesox, is a contortionist. He was doubling his feet back of his head and playing other tricks in the lobby of a hotel at Little Rock. “That guy don’t need to play ball,” said Happy Felsch. “He could stand on the corner and make a living.”

Hopefully Felsch didn’t need to play ball in order to make a living.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 09, 2015 at 09:16 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, happy felsch, history, red faber

High Heat: John Thorn joins Mad Dog Russo to talk Franchise Four

The Hidden Game of Fetch

Christopher Russo is joined by legendary baseball historian John Thorn to discuss how fans will be voting for each Franchise Four

Repoz Posted: April 09, 2015 at 07:13 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Babe Ruth’s Autobiography, as Written in 1920; Section III « Our Game

More good stuff from John Thorn.

Part 1
Part 2

Jim Furtado Posted: April 08, 2015 at 11:12 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, history, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-8-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 8, 1915:

Manager Bill Carrigan of the Red Sox expects to depend largely upon his left-handed pitchers during the first months of the season. He has Leonard, Collins and Ruth ready to do their share of the work, and Foster, Shore, and Mays to help them.

Ruth? Ruth is going to make the team? There’s no way that kid’s ready. He has flop written all over him.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 08, 2015 at 09:40 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, bill carrigan, dugout, history

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Posnanski: How do you solve a problem like Dalkowski?

One July 10, 1962, a minor miracle happened — though only a few people witnessed it. That was the day that Andy Warhol unveiled his odd Campbell Soup Cans work of art, though that wasn’t the miracle. A company called Telstar launched into space the first privately owned satellite. That wasn’t the miracle either.

No, that day, a somewhat clunky and generally unimposing young man with thick glasses took the mound for a minor-league baseball game in Elmira, N.Y. There were, by official count, 494 people in the stands.

By this point, everyone in the stands knew about the young man on the mound. He had, as they say, a reputation. He was dangerous. But something about him that day was different. He seemed calmer somehow. Which it to say: He did not throw a pitch 20 feet over the catcher’s head. He did not knock out an umpire with some crazy rising fastball. He did not throw a pitch through a wall. He simply … pitched. Every now and again, if people listened closely, they could hear something coming out of the Elmira dugout where manager Earl Weaver sat. It was the sound of someone whistling.

The young man pitched a five-hit shutout and — more to the point — he did not walk a single batter. When the game ended a reporter asked what he had done differently. Steve Dalkowski shrugged.

“I wish I knew,” he said.

The District Attorney Posted: April 07, 2015 at 07:58 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: earl weaver, history, joe posnanski, orioles, steve dalkowski

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-7-2015

Bismarck Daily Tribune, April 7, 1915:

The oldest man connected with baseball has never seen a game.

He is David Riblet of Cleveland…If Riblet lives until March 13 he will be ninety years old. For the last four years he has been the watchman in the club rooms of the Naps.
...
“But I don’t ever expect to see a ball game,” adds Riblet. “You see, I’m one of those kind of men who always stick at their post, no matter what is happening near by them.”

For 18 years Riblet operated the turnstiles at the bleacher gate. He says he sometimes grew a bit curious to learn what was happening when the thousands of fans shrieked their applause at some great play, but he never deserted his post of duty.

Give the guy a day off, for crying out loud. Jeez.

Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: April 07, 2015 at 08:08 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 06, 2015

Was Ty Cobb the White Oscar Charleston?

Charleston also annoyed Londos by shouting “WHAT?” whenever he tried to talk.

His players called him Charlie, and when it was his turn to drive the team’s red, white, and blue bus, it was like having Ty Cobb at the wheel. Of course the players never said so, because sportswriters and white folks were always calling him the black Ty Cobb and Charlie hated it…

John McGraw [proclaimed]: “If Oscar Charleston isn’t the greatest baseball player in the world, then I’m no judge of baseball talent.”

Decades later Bill James could hear the echo of McGraw’s endorsement as he set to work on his engaging, argumentative Historical Baseball Abstract. Swept up in the list-making orgy that defines contemporary culture, James wanted to rate the top hundred players ever. If he generated controversy by including a player who was a mystery to “a lot of very knowledgeable baseball fans,” he says, so much the better.

Numbers had to be crunched—James without statistics would be like Hendrix without his guitar—and other people’s lists had to be studied. But when it came to Negro leaguers, everything changed, because there weren’t always game stories and box scores to substantiate the players’ greatness… So the list became for James a matter of the heart and the gut. “You wind up making a lot of assumptions,” he says. But at every turn, he found more praise for Charleston from men who had seen him play, men who knew his greatness to be the cold, hard truth… Thus did James anoint Charleston the fourth greatest player ever. Only the Babe, Honus Wagner, and Willie Mays are ahead of him, in that order. And—how Charlie would have loved this—Cobb is one place behind him… James expected at least one roaring good argument about Charleston’s presence in such august company. Instead, all he got was this: “stunned silence.”...

Charleston used his fists on everybody who crossed him regardless of pigmentation, on the field or off, as if breaking a nose or knocking out teeth gave him not just satisfaction but also sustenance. The smart ones backed down, the way professional wrestler Jim Londos, the Stone Cold Steve Austin of his day, did when Charleston threatened to throw him off a train for making too much noise. But at least one Ku Klux Klansman failed to get the message about discretion being the better part of valor, and, according to Cool Papa Bell, Charleston yanked the hood off his head and made him run like a scalded dog.

Laughing all the way, Charleston teed off on opponents, teammates, umpires, even the owner of the Hilldale Daisies… Here was a proud man confronted daily by the fact that the world beyond the Negro leagues would never know just how great he was. He would never face Ty Cobb on the diamond, never find out once and for all if Cobb shouldn’t have been called the white Oscar Charleston.

The District Attorney Posted: April 06, 2015 at 12:44 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: history, negro leagues, oscar charleston

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